Why Comparing Yourself To Others Never Leads To Success
Having a conversation with a friend the other day, I heard myself rattling off all the milestones Megan had recently achieved, such as making club volleyball and excelling in academics. I heard myself doing more of the same about Emily:
Having a conversation with a friend the other day, I heard myself rattling off all the milestones my daughter had recently achieved, such as making club volleyball and excelling in academics. I heard myself doing more of the same about Emily: she's a great dancer, very smart, and a natural on the stage. It sounded braggy, even to me, and so I faltered on my words and immediately tried to take them back. Maybe because I had suddenly remembered that my friend's daughter wasn't doing as well in academics, I realized (too late) how totally inappropriate my self-important comments were. I was unconsciously engaging in a competition of sorts, and an unimportant one at that.
Thankfully, being a good friend, she let me off the hook and assured me I wasn't making her feel less adequate by sharing my pride. This, however, led to a deeper conversation about the true root of why we boast about our kids' accomplishments even more than our own. We came to the conclusions that all of our bragging comes from the importance we give to other people's views of what a "good" mother looks like.
Somehow, if my daughters had succeeded--and excelled farther than their peers--I could rest easy knowing that I had done everything right. With this realization came perspective and growth: even if both of my daughters were struggling or falling apart, I couldn't possibly love them more. I'd still be overwhelmed with pride! My need to compare came from self-doubt in my own parenting skills and the way other people perceived them. If you begin the compare game, your guilt will grow. Don't do it. Remember that every child develops at different rates and in their own way. While one child may be a great student, another may be a great dancer, and my third might excel in sports (we're not sure yet).
Either way, all of my children carry their own special gifts and talents. Don't internalize your child's development. Know that, as mothers, although we support and encourage our children's growth, we cannot determine exactly how everything will turn out nor can we predict all the choices they will make right now or later in life. I am very proud of my children, but I am careful not to brag about them to the detriment of others. The easiest way to eliminate these unreasonable comparisons is to stop them in their tracks. So, when someone brags about something exceptional and you feel they're really making a passive--but negative--judgment on your own parenting, shut down the conversation. Simply say, "That's great," or "Good for you."
Remember, the issue really lies with their confidence. Parenting is not a race. There are no winners and losers. Rather than compete to be the very best parent, focus on raising your children your way and on your own timetable.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Samantha Knowles is the author of Working Mom Reviews. To know about how to bring positivity and abundance to your life visit The Abundance Code Review. To learn secrets, techniques, and unique attractions - visit The Penguin Method Review.